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Gotham uses a case-of-the-week to deepen this season's story

Illustration for article titled Gotham uses a case-of-the-week to deepen this season's story
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Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • Never Mind The Bullocks: “Not to speak ill of the dead, but he was a Grade A bastard.” That’s more like the Harvey we’ve come to know and love, and yet, as we learn later, there’s still plenty of reason to be mad at him.
  • “Hog Day Afternoon” begins in the underground fight club, where Nygma is excited to see Lee Thompkins and yet completely baffled about why she’s not excited to see him. “I heard a rumor that you were frozen. Should have known it was too good to be true.”
  • Gotham seems to be a show that can only craft compelling characters if they’re kind of bad people, or have some sort of edge to them. That’s especially true of the female characters; Barbara Keen, Selina Kyle, and now Dr. Thompkins, have only become interesting as they’ve embraced darker tendencies. Add in Victor Zsasz, Nygma, and Penguin, and the most compelling, fascinating characters on this show are the ones technically on the wrong side of the law. That’s not a condemnation of those characters—you need moral ambiguity to create conflict—but it does expose just how dull our good guys, Gordon and Bullock, truly are.
  • I remain deeply confused about the relationship between Gordon and Sofia Falcone. He confronts her early on in this episode and says he needs to know her endgame with Penguin, to which she replies that she just needs a few more days to bring him down. Does he still believe she’s going to take down Penguin and just step aside? Is he romantically involved with her? There’s no clarity to what they’re supposed to be getting from each other, either in terms of romance, loyalty, or criminal underworld capital, and it’s hindering what should be one of the season’s integral relationships.
  • This week’s episode introduces a case-of-the-week style serial killer by the name of Professor Pig. He’s going around killing the corrupt cops who are taking money from Penguin. The scene that introduces him is beautifully shot, with a cop walking through a back alley before arriving at his demise; the lighting and strange angles add a sense of menace. That atmosphere then goes to hell when Professor Pig says “oink oink” before killing his victim. It’s the first sign that this particular villain is just a little too goofy for my taste.
  • However, I do enjoy the way the show uses the case-of-the-week structure to deepen the rest of the storylines from this season. We get a better sense of how Penguin’s operation works. We get a more thorough and emotional look at the fraught Bullock-Gordon relationship. All of this ties into Penguin’s creeping distrust of Sofia while also suggesting how explosive it will be when Nygma and Grundy are back in the mix of all these criminals.
  • Penguin wants to know why Sofia didn’t show up for their scheduled lunch—“it’s not a date!”—but Zsasz doesn’t have any answers: “Something came up, I don’t know, I wasn’t listening.”
  • I was hesitant about the show going down the “his brain is broken” road with Nygma because that kind of defeats the whole purpose of the character, but I’m happy to be proven wrong. Nygma is still as charismatic and delightful as ever, and there’s great pleasure in his continuous frustrations. The moment where he knows he can blackmail Thompkins but can’t figure out how to do it is a nice touch.
  • Grundy really goes to town on a Legion of Doom-looking guy, leaving a mess of brain matter for Thompkins to clean up.
  • Speaking of Thompkins, it turns out that her working at the fight club is just a way for her to keep the doors of her own home-run clinic open. It would seem that new edge she has isn’t the result of her going full criminal.
  • “Is this a chat chat, or a shovel-in-the-trunk kind of chat?”
  • “I’m tickled pink to meet you.” Seriously, I am not digging Professor Pig as a villain. He’s still on the loose by episode’s end, but my hope is that this isn’t a drawn-out story. There’s so much more potential in everything else that’s going on, including with Bruce, Alfred, Barbara, and Ra’s al Ghul, who don’t make an appearance this week.
  • To the surprise of absolutely no one, Bullock has been taking money from Penguin. I can’t say I’m overly invested in his corruption, considering that pretty much the entire GCPD is doing the same thing, but I’d be interested in how it affects his relationship with Jim. Will this turn Gordon into even more of a lone wolf? Will this force Gordon further into the arms of Sofia in order to clean up Gotham? Those are intriguing questions, and hopefully Gotham focuses on them.

Kyle Fowle is a freelance writer based out of Canada. He writes about TV and wrestling for The A.V. Club, Real Sport, EW, and Paste Magazine.